Clean a Cupboard, Clear Your Mind

A brief meditative cleaning practice

Clutter in our homes creates clutter in the mind

We may not always notice how clutter causes us stress, but it does. A messy space can create a lot of excess noise in our minds. To take a step forward, we have to move to the side, around and under. We have to lift things and search for stuff. Rather than one fluid motion to wipe a clear counter, we have to clean around objects or move them.

How to make this a meditative practice.

  1. First of all, only do one thing. For this to be a mindfulness practice its important that you are focusing all of your attention on it. Don’t listen to a podcast or watch TV, don’t try to also fold laundry while you are cleaning out your drawer. Set a timer and make every effort to devote those 20 minutes, or however long to only this task.
  2. Second, take a few breaths before you begin and set an intention. Why are you cleaning out this drawer or cabinet? Sure it’s to reduce clutter or make your life a little easier but go deeper. This act will benefit your future self in some way. It’s an act of self-love. Put your hand on your heart and state your intention.
  3. Now, get to work. Notice each and every detail. Pay loving attention to each object. Notice judgments and negative thoughts as they arise. Stay focused on the task. As the wise Marie Kondo says, if you are ready to release an object, take a moment to thank it before you do.
  4. Finally, when the timer digs, check-in with yourself. Do you want to keep working? Are you in a state of flow? Or do you feel complete? Even if the task is not “done” (let’s be real here, cleaning is never actually done). How do YOU feel? If you think that you’d feel a state of accomplishment if you completed the task, you can set the timer again and continue working. Or you can simply be done. Think about your original intention, and decide for yourself if you fulfilled it.

Psychologist and Human mood ring.

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